Where coffee and tea grow well, in the vietnamese highlands, I arrived on this planet. It was a Wednesday. My first two years were somehow difficult. My family did not have the money to feed me properly, I was undernourished and I was not growing well. Hopefully, I do not remember that much of this time. Today, I show proudly the strange shape of my finger bones and a photo of a 2-year-old blond version of me. Yes, because the hair becomes clearer when you have a lack of some nutrients.
France! A big developed country. It is a kind of good country to live in. I had the chance to migrate there just before my third birthday. I did not go on my own because at this time I was not as confident as today to take a plane. I was adopted by a French family. A very nice family who gave me my amazing Polish surname: SARZYNSKI. I was loved and always had something to eat. At the school, I studied hard with the thoughts that I was sent to France to have a good future life. A life without hunger, without worrying about food or basics needs. In high school, I had the opportunity to take part in short exchange programs and I went to Ireland and Poland. There, I lived with locals for a week. I saw differences in people way of living, how pupils study in their high school, how people cook and have fun. I caught a virus, the virus of the globetrotter.
Before starting my study at the University of Rennes in France, I came back to Vietnam on my own. My French parents always kept in touch with my Vietnamese family, they even helped to finance my brothers’ studies. So I spent the whole summer with my Vietnamese family. I lived with them for 2 months. I learned how they live, how they have fun, what they worry about. I learn to cook, to play ”đá cầu” and to speak Vietnamese. It was a great summer. Finally, I was safely rooted to start to fly.
At the University of Rennes 1, I studied biology for 2 years. During vacations and my free time, I used to work as a child counselor in summer camps and as a science facilitator in a local NGO. These experiences taught me how to link myself to other people and how to care them.
Some people are homesick. I am not this kind of person. I am an abroad-sick person, maybe because of the globetrotter virus, I caught during high school. I am always thirsty for new cultures, new languages, and new people. That is why I started a great journey. After my second year of Bachelor, I went for a 2-month internship in the north of Vietnam during the summer. I lived with relatives who were happy to provide me food and accommodation in Hanoi. I worked for the French Institute of Research and Development. I searched for a link between soil water flow, earthworms galleries, and casts in a watershed in the south of Hanoi. The best part of this internship was the opportunity to live during the week with locals on the field of study. They were a small-holder farmer family working on rice paddy and caring some livestock. I remember a morning at 6 while I was leaving the house to go to work on the field, one of their cows was giving birth to a calf. Guess what we had for lunch then! No, not the calf but its placenta. Not super good to eat, but interesting. This internship made me understand that I wanted to help those in needs particularly farmers. I realized that science may be very focused on discovering fundamental laws or knowledge without caring about the real world around. I really believe that fundamental science is very important. We would not be able to have nuclear energy without all the fundamental research which was done in physics before. However, it is not for me. That is why I want my future research to take into account practical issues. How can my discoveries in the future help the world, the society, the people?
After this internship, I went to the University of Guadalajara in Mexico to study my last year of bachelor. I had an incredible year there. I went through different ecosystems, met different ethnical minorities and got a nice suntan. To keep those memories and share them with my family and friends around the world, I created a Youtube channel. During this year, I realized that a country has the responsibility to provide a sustainable well-being to its citizens. A way to show policy-makers the value of the ecosystem is to calculate it.
I already knew for a long time that I wanted to study ecology, yet meeting people from southern countries made me realize that I had to include economical and social parameters in my future research. Consequently, I decided to study landscape ecology in the university of Hohenheim in Germany. In this master degree, I want to learn how ecosystems can create and maintain services to improve human well-being particularly in poor regions of the globe where people are even more dependent on Nature. The sector which depends the most on ecosystem services is agriculture, for this reason studying in one of the best agricultural faculty in Europe is a bonus. Lately, I participated in two workshops at the university. One was about debating and public speaking, the other one was about entrepreneurship. Those two excellent workshops made me realize that I do not know what I want to become in the future. I could become a scientist, professor of university, policy-maker in an international institution or create my own company… At the end what I will become does not really matter. It is what I do now and in the future that matters the most. Today, I learn diverse skills and study the socio-ecosystems we are living in. Tomorrow, I will use this knowledge to help make this world sustainably happy.
Name, nationality, and age: Thuan SARZYNSKI, French, 21
Country in which you currently live: Germany
Which organization you work for, or which university you study at: University of Hohenheim (Germany)
Your mother tongue: French
Other languages you are fluent in: English, Spanish